Talbot County Free Library

The American Farmer


To the Editor.
dated Wye House, July 19th, 1819.
Dear Sir,

I avail myself with much pleasure of the first leisure to answer you favor respecting Lawler Wheat. This wheat has been seeded by myself and a few of my neighbours for the two last years, a period perhaps not sufficiently long to test conclusively its character, in as much as a contrariety of opinion exists amongst those, who have grown it. This in some degree may be the result of prejudice, and failures may have occurred from many causes, not fairly chargeable to the wheat; the latter I am inclined to believe, in many instances, the fact : for where I have seeded it under favorable circumstances, the result has been satisfactory. In the fall of 1817, I seeded the Lawler Wheat, on several farms, on corn ground and clover, lay on poor and rich land, and to test its qualities sowed what is called here, the old Virginia white wheat, adjoining it, even in the same corn land. The white wheat, generally with me was that season very much injured by spring fly. The Lawler only in one instance, or rather a light piece of land which had been in corn, and then I judged the crop to have been lessened one half; the Virgina white wheat adjoining it, and seeded the same day, did not produce the seed sown; from 23 acres of clover, lay sowed that year with Lawler Wheat, between the 28th Sept. and 5th of Oct. I made by actual measurements, (not by estimation. Which is too often the mode of ascertaing great crops,) 628 bushels, weighing 63 pounds. The result of 1817, induced me to seed nearly my whole crop with Lawler Wheat. In 1818, my harvest is secured, and a good one as to straw, in every instance, where the land was, as farmers term it, in good heart, good order, and seeded at a proper season. I have one field of 90 acres, which will produce, estimating from the straw about 20 bushels to the acre, but the wheat generally, has filled badly, inconsequence of the dry weather. These are the facts resulting from two year's experience. Those who feel a interest will draw their own conclusion, but it may be necessary to add, that little injury was done by fly in my neighbourhood this season; it made its appearnce early in May in the virginia white wheat, and some little in the Lawler wheat, but providentially neither were materially injured. The Lawler wheat, in appearance, resembles the Virginia white wheat, but in my opinion it will not produce as well from the straws. The bars of wheat in the head are not as close, nor generally as well filled with grain, but that is possesses the quality of resisting the fly in a much greater degree than any other wheat know to us, is satisfactorily evinced by the experience of most of my neighbours and myself, for the last two years; what this quality is, yet remains conjectural. That its losing its lower blades, at an earlier period than other wheat, and consequently depriving the fly of the usual place of deposit and protection, as is supposed by some persons, I should, from my observations, pronounce erroneous; for although I have sometimes observed the lower blades to decline very early in the season, I do not consider it by any means a characteristics of the wheat. I have myself formed no opinion on the subject, or even conjecture, which I deem worthy of a communication. It is a few days later in ripening than the Virginia white wheat, provided the latter escapes the fly, but in 1818, the Lawler wheat ripened before the white wheat, in consequence of its being checked in the early spring growth by fly. It resists frost, and branches as much as any wheat I have ever cultivated, and has weighed with me about three pounds per bushel more than the white wheat. It produces flour of the nicest quality, and will yield more fine four in proportion to offal, than any wheat, except the Virginia white wheat, that we have ever grown. I would advise it to be sown, from the 20th Sept. to the 10th Oct. and on strong land, at the rate of from five to six pecks to the acre, and from good land, unusual casualties excepted, I should anticipate with confidence, a saving crop, in defiance of fly .

It will at times afford me much pleasure to make such communications for the farmer, as my experience my warrant; my agricultural speculations must be reserved for the amusement of myself and a small circle of friends, but of these you will no doubt receive an abundant crop, and if you can succeed without giving offence, in excluding from your now useful paper, the vagaries of theorists, and agricultural empirics, you will deserve well of your country, and do honor to yourself; for unfortunately for the cause of agriculture, most publications on the subject, abound with the wild notions of scribblers, who are as ignorant in theory as deficient in practice, hence with those without experience, who read for the purpose of information, erroneous opinions are as apt to be formed as correcct ones, and practices are often commenced in consequence, which eventuate in loss and disappointment. Permit me in conclusion to remark, that the Farmer, so far, is the best agricultural compilation, in my humble opinion, that I have ever seen, and deserves the patronage of the public. Truly yours,


This article originally appeared in the John Skinner's "American Farmer"Volume 1, No. 18 dated Friday, July 30, 1819, on pages 140-141.  The Maryland Room of the Talbot County Free Library has bound copies of the American Farmer dating from its debut on Arpil 2, 1819 to Volume 12, No. 52 dated March 11, 1831.

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